Many language learners aspire to read English books in their original language, but they often find it too difficult because the language in the books they choose is usually beyond their level. However, if learners start with graded readers, they won’t have to stop and look up many unknown words in the dictionary, and reading a book will become an enjoyable part of their language learning journey.

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What are Graded Readers?

Graded readers are books of various genres, written by a range of prestigious authors from around the world. They are simplified specifically for foreign language learners of all levels, from Beginner to Advanced.

The language in these books is graded according to the vocabulary, the complexity of grammar structures, and the number of words. Graded readers can be a great resource for extensive reading.

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Where Can I Find the Right Graded Reader?

Choosing the right book depends on what your students enjoy reading. Do they like classics, detective stories, or thrillers? Students can also choose a book based on its length and level.

The graded reader should always be slightly higher than their most comfortable level — this will ensure they understand the text while challenging them to learn new words and phrases.

There are several websites that can help you choose the right graded reader for their level:

Pearson English Graded Readers

Graded readers for adults, teens and young learners

There learners can first take a placement test if they are unsure of their level and then choose the right book. 

Readers for Teens and Adults are divided into Pearson English Readers (7 levels) and Active Readers (5 levels), which include stories, classic novels and plays, modern popular fiction, and non-fiction titles. The majority of these books come with an interactive CD-ROM with complete audio recordings and downloadable resources for teachers. Use the advanced search option to find the right book according to students’ levels and interests.

Macmillan Readers

The Macmillan Graded Readers series is published at six levels: Starter, Beginner, Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, and Upper Intermediate. On the website, you can find a short summary of the book, its level, the number of pages, and sample pages. Readers can also order the book for shipping to their address.

Oxford Graded Readers

Oxford’s library has a vast collection of graded readers in their library. They offer six CEFR levels with nine sub-levels (e.g. Intermediate Plus, Pre-Primary), six media types (paperback, ebook, iOS app, etc.), three types of English, and 11 genres. Use the search tool to find the right book.

You can choose readers according to your students’ age, level, Oxford coursebook, or even international exams. For Pre-Primary and Primary students, readers are available from Pre-A1 to B1 levels, with four different types to choose from.

Collins English Readers

On the website, you can check the level of English and filter the books according to the format (paper, audio, or ebook), the price, and sort A–Z, price low to high, and new to old. The selection provides two collections of ELT readers: “Agatha Christie” and “Amazing People”. 

Other articles you might find useful:

Cambridge University Press

If your students are interested in audiobooks or prefer listening over reading, this website will quickly become a favourite. It offers audiobooks ranging from Beginner to Intermediate levels, all of which are available for free download.

For Teens

British Council

British Council provides stories and articles for learners at the Elementary, Intermediate, and Upper Intermediate levels. The same story can be found in these three different levels, accompanied by numerous comprehension exercises that will enable teens to practise new words and expressions found in the text.

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A1: Elementary

“A Tale of Two Cities”

The action in the book takes place before and during the French Revolution. Jarvis Lorry is travelling to Paris to reunite Dr Manette with his long-lost daughter Lucie. When Darnay, the son of a French nobleman, returns to Paris to save a former servant, he is arrested by the revolutionaries and sentenced to death.

“Anna and the Fighter”

Anna is making her first trip alone by train to visit her aunt. She is nervous and excited. The journey is long and tiring, and she falls asleep. She wakes up to find that she has missed her station, and that she is sharing the train compartment with a dangerous-looking man.

For Teens

“Alice in Wonderland”

The events in the book take place during the summer, and it tells the story of a young girl named Alice who accidentally falls through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world. Here, she encounters talking caterpillars and rabbits with watches, and she also finds herself in danger as the Queen wants to cut off everyone’s head!

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”

If your teens enjoy the film series “Pirates of the Caribbean”, they will definitely enjoy reading this book. It tells the story of the adventures of Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner, Jack Sparrow, and their cursed pirate ship, the Black Pearl.

A2: Pre-Intermediate

“The Swiss Family Robinson”

This novel, written by Johann David Wyss, is about a Swiss family that is shipwrecked in the East Indies. Stranded on an island, the family uses their skills and knowledge to survive and thrive. They also teach their four young sons valuable lessons about life and resourcefulness.

“The Ring”

This book is about Raphael and his mysterious gold ring. One day he feels fine, and the next day he becomes mad. There are also crime, mystery, and love, but only Raphael knows the true story, and he is deemed insane.

For Teens

“The Secret Garden”

Mary Lennox goes to live with her uncle in a big old house in the country. There are many gardens around the house. One day, Mary finds a garden that has high walls and no door. What is the secret of the garden?

“Sherlock Holmes: More Short Stories”

Sherlock Holmes is famous around the world. When the police cannot solve a crime, they turn to Holmes. He never misses a clue, and when he looks carefully at a person, he can understand everything about them. These are two of the best Sherlock Holmes stories. In “The Dead Coachman”, Holmes investigates a burglary and a murder while he is staying in the countryside with his friend Doctor Watson. In “The Last Mystery”, Holmes is in danger from the evil Professor Moriarty, who is as clever as the detective himself. They are both ready to fight to the death. But who will win?

B1: Intermediate

“As the Inspector Said and Other Stories”

The murder plan seems so neat, so clever. How can it possibly fail? Murder plans that go wrong, a burglar who makes a bad mistake, a famous jewel thief who meets a very unusual detective…

“About a Boy”

Will Freeman wants an easy life with no responsibilities. But then he meets Marcus — an unusual twelve-year-old boy with serious problems. “About a Boy” is a modern classic — a very funny story about a very serious subject: love. It’s also a popular movie starring Hugh Grant.

For Teens

“The Picture of Dorian Gray”

This Gothic and philosophical novel, written by Oscar Wilde, tells the story of an artist who paints a picture of a young and handsome man named Dorian Gray. The artist believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for the new mood in his art. However, Dorian’s life takes a dark turn as he becomes consumed by his vanity and hedonism.


Maximus, a general in the Roman army, wants to return to his family after his last battle. Unfortunately, his family is soon murdered, and he is sent to prison by Commodus. Finally, Maximus becomes a gladiator and has to fight for his life in the arena.

B2: Upper Intermediate

“Pride and Prejudice”

This romantic novel, written by Jane Austen, is about the love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. As they navigate societal expectations and misconceptions, they realise that true love may not be easy to find, but it’s worth fighting for.

“The Great Gatsby”

Jay Gatsby, the main character of the book, organises lavish parties every weekend at his mansion. Despite his wealth, he is not happy, and he yearns for love and happiness. However, his pursuit of the American dream leads him down a path of tragedy and disillusionment.

For Teens

“Not Without You”

It is 2088, and life in the city where Sala lives is hard: it’s overcrowded, there are no jobs, and no one can leave because the world outside is contaminated. Sala is lucky because she has Cham, and they love each other. But when Cham gets the chance for a new future, and Sala begins to make some extraordinary discoveries, will they agree about how to move forwards and what to do with their lives?


Beautiful, clever, and rich Emma Woodhouse has no wish to marry, but she enjoys making matches for those around her. It was Emma who found the perfect husband for her governess Miss Taylor. So when her dear friend Mr Knightley tells her that she should let people choose their own husbands and wives, she will not listen. But does Emma really understand people as well as she thinks? And is she even right about her own feelings when she says that she will never fall in love?

What books do your students read? Share in the comments below!

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